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Salutations in letters

Whilst I appreciate that it is increasingly less common to write or receive a letter these days - and that traditional usage has been Dear Sir/Madam->Yours truly/faithfully or Dear Mr Smith ->Yours sincerely - the few letters rarely follow these “rules”.

I have had (1) Dear Mr Smith without any closure from the UK Pensions Service, (2) Dear Mr Smith->Yours sincerely from the local power board, and (3) Hi Mr Smith->Until next time from my bank. Personally I have never used ‘Yours faithfully’ (which smacks of subservience) since the turn of the century, even when applying for a job. I do still use “Sincerely” in a few emails (particularly when making a complaint). 

For the life of me, I cannot see why bygone formalities are still required for examinations such as the International English Language Test. 

As to emails, it seems more difficult to be formal. Mostly I use “Hi + first name” and end with “Cheers”. 

My question is what are  other people in English-speaking countries experiencing? Is stuff like “Yours faithfully” “Yours truly” now passé? If so is there any reason to teach them?

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In email to someone familiar, I open with "Hi" and sign off with "Cheers" or "Slàinte mhath". Otherwise I use "Good day" and "Regards".
In letters it's normally "Dear ......" and "Yours sincerely".
I agree that "Yours truly" and "Yours faithfully" now seem to be considered passé.

Hairy Scot January 17, 2017, 8:27pm

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I use "Hello Jim"
and sign,


I work for a high tech American firm in New York.

Thad B March 27, 2017, 6:06pm

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For actual letters, typed or handwritten, I still use "Dear" to address and "Sincerely" or "Yours truly" to sign off. For emails I address by title and last name when its formal, and sign off with "Respectfully". I haven't written an informal letter in a long time since I don't know anyone who actually still wants to see my handwriting (and I'm not typing a letter on the computer). Informal email is addressed with "Hello", "Hi" or some other form of informal salutation and signed off with "ciao", "bye", "love" or my favorite "szia" (as much as bye in Hungarian - and no, I don't speak it).

R G Kay May 4, 2017, 9:23am

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